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Manchester’s Tech Quarter to get connectivity boost

Startups in Manchester’s Tech Quarter are set to for a boost after Virgin Media Business confirmed that it will power up to 3,000 businesses in the area with a new ultrafast broadband.

Connectivity issues have long plagued London’s Tech City and the matter has even been raised in parliament. However the Northern Quarter now looks set to bypass the protracted issues seen in the capital.

The new package that has been specially designed to support the connectivity needs of businesses located in multi-tenanted buildings and 3,000 businesses co-located in 300 buildings within Manchester’s 9-postcode Northern Quarter will now have access to the new service.

Once the ultrafast fibre is installed directly into the premises, each of the small businesses gets their own dedicated internet connection with equal upload and download speeds.

Similar packages were launched earlier this year in London’s Tech City and more than 450 London businesses, located in 70 buildings, are now being connected to Virgin Media Business’s dedicated connections.

Each small business in a building connected with fibre by Virgin Media Business is also able to apply for a subsidy from the Government’s SuperConnected Cities scheme.

In his spring budget Chancellor George Osborne announced that the government will allocate £4m to establish a startup hub in the Northern Quarter to help create “thriving local ecosystems” similar to those seen in London.

This followed on from a report published by Tech City UK earlier this year which highlighted that Greater Manchester has seen a 70% growth in digital companies between 2010 and 2013 with one of the highest average company turnover growth rates in the UK.

Peter Kelly, managing director, Virgin Media Business, said: “A central part of any technology hub is reliable, secure high-speed internet. This can make the difference between thriving and merely surviving for small and medium sized businesses so I’m thrilled we’re able to bring Manchester’s vibrant business community our latest package with the fastest broadband speeds.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, added: “Virgin Media Business’ investment in Manchester is very welcome.

“Quick, reliable broadband is the backbone of our digital economy, transforming the way businesses operate and the services they can provide.

“This announcement represents a bespoke ultra-fast broadband package for small and medium enterprises and will help support some of Manchester’s most digitally minded and creative businesses.”